HP has changed the status of two of its tier one partners – Eagle Technology and Portables Plus.
While they remain Premier Business Partners, the two companies no longer meet the sales volume requirements to buy stock directly from the vendor.
According to an HP spokesperson, the company has run two tiers within its Premier Business Partner programme for some time. “We have direct distribution and indirect. The only difference between the two is the distribution model for procurement of HP product,” she says.
Eagle Technology CEO Gary Langford says the change in the company’s status is not a big deal. “In reality most of our work was going through distributors rather than through HP. We still have all the other support and services from HP we got previously.”
HP says tier two Premier Business Partners still receive a high level of support from the vendor, as well as the distributor they buy from, and continue to have an HP account manager. They also retain the same rebates and incentives as tier one partners.
However, Scott Green, CEO of tier one partner Axon, says his company values its direct relationship with HP. “It gives us flexibility to either source from HP or distribution.”
Being a tier-one HP partner presents benefits beyond the ability to procure directly from the vendor, says Green, but adds not all companies are willing to or can justify the investment required to maintain such a deep relationship with a vendor.
Meanwhile, Langford says Eagle’s business has become more focussed on professional services and solutions, and less on hardware sales. “The nature of our business has been evolving – the majority of our business now comes from other revenue sources, rather than hardware.”
Portables Plus director Tony Fitzgerald says the change in the company’s status is no major issue either. “It doesn’t bother us – it is all by mutual agreement.”
He says Portables Plus’ business model has changed dramatically in recent years as it has moved away from running a retail business and therefore does not need to maintain high levels of stock. “In the past [as a direct account] we would hold large stock, nowadays we don’t – we just draw it from the distributors.”
Portbales Plus in also more involved in project-based and general IT, and has moved more into mobile computing through the partnership it launched with Digital Mobile and Vodafone last year, says Fitzgerald.
However, he stresses the company still has a close relationship with HP. “We still work closely with HP.”